Panama: Crypto bill splits the country in half?

Crypto legislation passed last year in Panama reaches a new chapter. Indeed, on January 26, Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo sent the bill to the High Court of Justice for examination. However, for the president, this cryptocurrency bill violates the fundamental principles of the constitution and remains unenforceable. However, the supreme court must declare the bill number 697 applicable or not.

Panama struggles to pass a law governing cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies at the heart of a conflict in Panama!

Several reasons explain the hostile position of the President of Panama towards this bill on cryptocurrencies. The first refers to sections 34 and 36 who violate the separation of state powers. Likewise, these articles establish administrative structures within the government; which in itself is an inadequate procedure.

The second reason goes back to June, when the partial veto issued by the president was lifted thanks to an inadequate procedure. Indeed, for the president, the bill needed more work to comply with the new regulations recommended by the Financial Action Task Force. This is to improve budget transparency and prevent money laundering.

No need to specify that this resistance of the president is at the origin of a disagreement between the Panamanian government and its national assembly.

In addition, this bill also regulated the tokenization of precious metals. But also, the emission of the numerical value of the country. Likewise, the digitization of identity using the blockchain or distributed ledger technology is exploited by the government innovation authority.

As a reminder, the presentation of the law dates from September 2021. All this, with the aim of making the country’s economy compatible with the global digital economy, blockchain, cryptographic assets and the internet.

However, last April Panamanian lawmakers passed a proposal. The latter aimed to regulate crypto including bitcoins in the country. Only, President Cortizo has made it clear that he will not align himself. Unless this draft includes additional anti-money laundering (AML) rules.


In an effort to make its economy more globally competitive, Panama’s National Assembly has issued a bill. However, this decision was met with strong opposition from the President. To fight against the money launderingthe latter requires additional measures. Since then, a tense climate reigns within the Panamanian administrations.

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